Trump Campaign Files Amended Complaint in Pennsylvania Lawsuit

November 15, 2020 Updated: November 16, 2020

The Trump campaign filed an amended complaint on Nov. 15 in an election lawsuit it initiated last week against Pennsylvania’s secretary of state Kathy Boockvar.

The campaign filed the amended complaint alongside a reply to Boockvar’s motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the new complaint renders the request for dismissal moot.

“Defendants’ motions to dismiss can be resolved in short order: they are now moot because plaintiffs have amended their complaint,” the campaign’s filing stated.

A redlined version of the original complaint shows that the campaign struck out five of the seven counts against all of the defendants. One of the two remaining counts alleges that the defendants denied the plaintiffs equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution due to disparate treatment of absentee and mail-in voters among different counties. The second surviving count alleges violations of the Constitution’s electors and elections clauses.

The campaign also struck out some of the passages from the introductory pages of the complaint. For example, the opening page of the new complaint no longer states: “The evidence is plain that Defendants have been and are blatantly violating the protections and procedures, including those enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, vitally necessary to ensure that the votes of the citizens of Pennsylvania are not illegally diluted by invalid ballots and that the election is free and fair.”

Several of the defendants in the case filed six concurrent motions to dismiss the case and numerous briefs in support of those motions.

Boockvar promptly filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

“The Court still lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the amended complaint still fails to state a plausible claim for relief on any legal theory, and the
extant state law issues still should be resolved by Pennsylvania state courts,” the motion stated.

“The Amended Complaint adds no new claims for relief and instead materially narrows the pending allegations to a single claim under the same theory alleged in the original complaint.”

The first of the remaining counts alleges that some counties contacted voters to give them an opportunity to cure their ballots while others did not. As a result, some voters were treated differently from others, the lawsuit claims.

“In addition, voters in Republican-leaning counties who failed to fully fill out their mail or absentee ballot envelopes had their ballots rejected, while voters in Democrat-leaning counties who similarly failed to fill out their mail or absentee ballot envelopes had their ballots counted,” the amended complaint states.

The second of the remaining counts alleges that the defendants in the case unconstitutionally revised the rules of the election. The Constitution states that the power to prescribe the “times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives” lies with “each State by the Legislature thereof.” The defendants in the case—Boockvar and the boards of elections of seven Pennsylvania counties—created a process for curing mail-in ballots when the power to do so lied with the Keystone State’s legislature, the complaint claims.

“Defendants are not the legislature, and their unilateral decision to create a cure procedure violates the Electors and Elections Clauses of the United States Constitution,” the complaint states.

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